Blasting will continue behind Howard Johnson’s motel: Neighbors grow tired of the noise

Blasting and rock crushing will continue at 1052 Boston Post Road, following a permit extension granted by the Planning and Zoning Board (P&Z) at its Oct. 20 meeting.

Philip Craft received a minor amendment to a special permit to extend completion of an on-site rock excavation and processing for an additional six months for the project behind the Howard Johnson’s motel at 1052 Boston Post Road. The vote was 9-1 in favor with board member Jim Quish voting in opposition.

The board granted the original approval on Aug. 6, 2013, and the permit was issued on Sept. 3, 2013. Turnpike Lodge LLC is the property owner, and lists Philip Craft as president with a business address matching that of Howard Johnsons.

Turnpike Lodge plans to demolish the 89-room motel and replace it with a four-story 95-room Hilton Homewood Suites, which is an extended stay hotel. At the time the original approval was granted, blasting and on-site rock crushing was expected to last 18 to 24 months.

Craft said he estimates the blasting, excavating and rock processing project is 93% complete. He said he estimates there are four days of blasting remaining and 30 days of rock processing. He said 234,000 tons of rock have already been removed. He requested the additional six months, just in case the work takes longer than expected.

City Planner David B. Sulkis said in this type of work, the equipment breaks down often.

Prior to the board’s vote, neighbors called out from the back of the room, asking to comment on the project, saying that they have been living with the noise of the operation for the past two years, and they believed Craft should not be processing the rocks on the site.

“It shouldn’t be a quarry,” said one man who did not give his name. “It has been two years living with this.”

Board Chairman Benjamin Gettinger said the issue was not a public hearing, and the public could not speak. The project backs against the 49-unit Forest Park condominium complex located on Forest Road, on the hill behind where the blasting is taking place.

In response to the concerns, Craft said the blasting and rock crushing is regulated by the state. He said he has a water tank with sprinklers onsite to keep down the dust. He said he has kept to the hours of operation. Craft said he has also spoken to neighbors who called to express concerns.

“I just want to finish quickly,” said Craft.
City To Buy Property
The board quickly and unanimously approved an 8-24 referral for the city’s acquisition of 60 Helwig Street and 159 High Street. An 8-24 referral is an administrative procedure in which the P&Z provides input into the purchase or sale of land by the city. The Board of Aldermen will vote on the purchase at its Nov. 5 meeting.

City Attorney Jonathan Berchem told the board that the city acquired the parcels for possible use as parking lots.

60 Helwig Street is a 0.12-acre property with a single-family house built in 1935, currently owned by Bryans Wharf LLC. Bryans Wharf lists Nancy Bennett as its manager and Milford Boat Works, 1 High Street, as the business address. Berchem said the Helwig Street property is adjacent to an existing public parking lot and is near Lisman Landing.

The property at 159 High Street is a 0.07-acre parcel with a two-family house constructed in 1908 and is currently owned by Howard Baccash. Berchem said this property could be used for additional railroad station parking.

He said this property is adjacent to a property the city just purchased from the DeLeo Brothers Property Group, which is a 0.38-acre property at 145 High Street with a house dating to 1900.

In other business, the board quickly and unanimously approved construction of a single-family house at 7 Point Beach Drive. Carol Ann Greunke owns the 0.13-acre property located in an R-7.5 zone.